Wednesday, February 13, 2008

An evening with Ms. Nonie Darwish

Monday night I had the pleasure of hearing Nonie Darwish speak in the LA area on her journey out of Islam. "Only in America", I thought to myself as the former Muslim, now Christian, took the podium in a Jewish synagogue.

Her book, Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror, chronicles her life in Egypt and Gaza, where her father was an intelligence agent directing terror operations against Israel in the 50's.

What I found most insightful was her chapter on the anthropology of the Muslim family, and the way Sharia law, polygamy, and social mores foster a highly distrustful culture.

She started off her speech (and talks about it in the book) about a confrontational question from a young woman: "Why don't you focus on women's rights in the US?"

Nonie's response was that in the US, if your husband beats you, you are able to call the police, and press charges. In Muslim countries, a wife beating husband is seen as doing his duty, as it is not illegal, and even encouraged for discipline in the family.

Women in Muslim countries are considered property, and there is very little in the way of social, family, or government resources to protect them. The arbitrary legal system known as 'Sharia law' doesn't guarantee equality or consistency under the law, and women and children are at the mercy of their fathers, husbands, or clerics who interpret laws on a whim.

What I find beyond appalling is the deafening silence of mainstream feminist groups in the west who turn a blind eye to the desperate plight to the 3/4 of a billion women living under Sharia tyranny in Asia and Africa. Roughly 11% of the world's population are Asian/African Muslim women, and have, essentially, no guarantee of rights.

When will Western feminists WAKE UP and stop whining over sexual politics and contrived grievances, and begin the liberation of the truly oppressed in our world: Muslim women?

Visit Nonie's site: Arabs for Israel


Naomi said...

Thank you for saying something that I have been thinking for awhile. It seems politically incorrect to desire change in a culture even if the cultural norms are harm/killing humans! Western feminists seem more interested in being western than being feminist and taking a stand against abuse of any sort in any culture.

Melissa said...

Thank you Kate for starting the Klatch. I'm going to read this book and come back with comments.